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Growing beer at Barn Talk Hops

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

No matter where you travel in Ohio these days, you’re not far from a craft brewery. According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, the state has 398 craft breweries, ranking fifth in total production in the United States. The rise in craft breweries has led to an increase in demand for local hops.

Hops are an essential ingredient in beer, adding bitterness to counteract the sweetness of the malt. USDA records from the late 1800s show that hops were grown across many counties in the state, but their popularity waned in the early 1900s due to Prohibition and plant disease pressure. A re-energized interest in local brews and local products over the last decade has resurged the demand for hop production in Ohio.

Barn Talk Hops in Medina County, owned by Mike and Jenny Napier, is working to fill the need for locally grown hops.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s brewery boom

By Matt Reese

Ohio has a unique history with breweries and the agricultural production to supply them.

OCJ field reporter Brianna Gwirtz wrote a great story about hops production — a formerly fairly common crop in the state to supply a once prolific brewing industry. The ups and downs of Ohio breweries and growing conditions often ill-suited for quality hops production eliminated commercial hops in Ohio (though I will say my mother always had a hops plant in the garden when I was a kid). That has changed though, in recent years as Ohio’s brewing industry has seen a remarkable resurgence.

In doing her research for the story, Brianna also talked with Mary MacDonald, the executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association and wrote up the following: When McDonald started her job in 2013, the state had a total of 58 breweries. Today there are 398 breweries in Ohio and today’s craft brewing industry employs around 9,000 people in the state.Continue reading

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Warmer June ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

May worked out as forecast with a wet start followed by a gradual planting window.

Looking forward, the variable weather pattern continues in the short-term with temperatures continuing to fluctuate.

June outlook

For June, we expect slightly cooler than normal temperatures to persist until mid-month (-1 to 3F). Temperatures are likely to switch to above normal for the second half of the month (+1 to +4F). Confidence in this is medium to high.

Rainfall will be much more variable and scattered ranging from 0.50 inches to over 3 inches through June 20th (see attached rainfall forecast map for the next two weeks) You can also see this on the NOAA NWS Ohio River Forecast Center webpage at:

Normal is about 1.5 to 2.0 inches. Confidence on where it will be drier or wetter is low as thunderstorms will drive the details of the outcome.

Rest of growing season outlook

The outlook for July is for a warmer month with rainfall near normal (but the normal rainfall will be made up of anything but normal).… Continue reading

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Machine learning and soy plant health

Using a combination of drones and machine learning techniques, researchers from The Ohio State University have recently developed a novel method for determining crop health and used it to create a new tool that may aid future farmers.

Published in the journal Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, the study investigates using neural networks to help characterize a crop defoliation, or the widespread loss of leaves on a plant. This destruction can be caused by disease, stress, grazing animals, and more often by infestations of insects and other pests.

If left unchecked, whole crop fields can end up damaged, drastically lowering an entire region’s agricultural productivity. To combat this, researchers chose to analyze a cash crop considered to be one of the four staples of global agriculture: soybeans. 

Between August and September of 2020, Zichen Zhang, lead author of the study and a graduate student in computer science and engineering at Ohio State used an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or a drone, to take aerial images of five soybean fields in Ohio.Continue reading

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Plan now for the OCA Replacement Female Sale

The 2022 date for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) tenth annual Replacement Female Sale will be Friday evening, November 25. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Co. in Zanesville, Ohio and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The tenth edition of OCA Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of January 1, 2023 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s. Pregnancy status must be verified by an accredited veterinarian through traditional palpation, ultrasound or by blood testing through a professional laboratory. Analysis must be performed within 60 days of sale.… Continue reading

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Auction price discovery driving used farm equipment markets to record levels

By Matt Reese

In what seems to be a strange development, the prices for used farm equipment are actually going for higher prices at auction than when the equipment was purchased new several years ago.

A unique set of market conditions are at play and auctions seem to be driving the market.

“I think most people following the market are seeing that supply and demand is certainly the catalyst for what the markets are doing. There’s still a restriction in supply as the new equipment is really not opened up yet as far as production and orders catching up. We’ve been fortunate to see a lot of equipment come through the marketplace on the used side and I really think people are able to upgrade right now and find good selections and, at the end of the day, they’re paying top dollar for it,” said Andy White, owner of RES Auction Services in Wooster.… Continue reading

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Boaters be fuel-aware

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

There’s been a lot of pain at the pump lately with gas prices. The Biden administration’s recent move to give a waiver from the Clean Air Act to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% Ethanol (E15) during the summer months is intended to lower costs and stretch the nation’s fuel supply. However, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says the unintended consequence of the waiver could inadvertently put a harmful fuel prohibited for use in recreational vessels into your boat’s gas tank.

BoatUS notes recreational vessels are never compatible with E15 (15% ethanol). It is not permitted by federal law to use E15 fuel in boats (as well as motorcycles, off-road vehicles and power equipment), voids the engine warranty, and it has been proven to cause damage to marine engines. It also causes engines to run hotter and contains less energy than E10.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain reform bill introduced to protect Ohio landowners

Ohio lags behind most states in protections for landowners. In fact, when Ohio landowners are faced with losing property rights through eminent domain, the present law makes it difficult for them to defend their own interests and they often find themselves at a disadvantage.
House Bill 698, introduced by State Rep. Darrell Kick (OH-70) and State Rep. Rodney Creech (OH-43), would create a more direct legal route for a landowner to receive compensation when property is taken by the government without compensation, using a court action called inverse condemnation. In most states, when a property owner files an eminent domain case in court, the court starts by determining if there was indeed a taking of land or property value and if the owner is owed compensation. If so, the same court handles the trial to set the amount of compensation to the landowner.

“This legislation would give safeguards to landowners across Ohio to protect them from government and utilities taking property,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Ag Net Communications Job Opening

Position: Marketing Specialist for Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net

Hours: Part-time Position – flexible hours

Pay: Commission based

Location: Works remotely – home based

Deadline to apply: June 24, 2022

Start date: Flexible

Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net are looking for a highly motivated individual to add to our advertising sales department. Ideal candidates should have experience in sales and knowledge of agriculture products and be team oriented.

To apply for the job, email us your resumé and cover letter.

 … Continue reading

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Ohio crop returns outlook for 2022

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Higher input costs and higher crop prices have been the theme for the last several months. Higher production costs in 2021 gave way to even higher costs for the 2022 production year. Factors affecting both supply and demand have continued to drive commodity crop prices higher. The result of all of this change is a positive margin outlook for 2022 commodity crops.

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be higher than last year with higher fertilizer prices leading the way. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2022 are projected to range from $578 to $708 per acre depending on land productivity. The trend line corn yield (183.7 bpa) scenario included in the corn enterprise budget shows an increase in variable costs of 44%.

Variable costs for 2022 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $311 to $360 per acre.

Continue reading

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June Dairy Month: Bridgewater Dairy

By Dusty Sonnenberg

Now in its fourth decade producing milk in Northwest Ohio, Bridgewater Dairy has seen its share of good times and challenges. Managed by Leon and Chris Weaver, Bridgewater Dairy was built and started milking cows in 1990. The Williams County farm started milking 2,000 cows and a decade and a half later expanded to milk around 3,000 cows. In 2011, the partnership that owns Bridgewater Dairy also purchased Oakshade Dairy in Fulton County and milks around 1,500 cows at that location. All the heifers and dry cows from both farms are raised at Bridgewater. The Bridgewater Dairy produces all its own feed on 5,000 acres of ground. The feed for Oakshade Dairy is purchased from local farmers.

The dairy industry has seen its share of challenges over time.

“For the first 20+ years, there were ups and downs in the dairy industry as we were getting the farms going,” said Chris Weaver.… Continue reading

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Prices drop, basis rallies

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Last Week:

  • July corn closed the week down 50 cents.
  • December corn closed the week down 40 cents and is down 75 cents from the high about one month ago.
  • November soybeans closed the week down only 17 cents from its highest close of the year.
  • July wheat collapsed a $1.17 and is down $2.37 from the high two weeks ago.



Soybeans seems to be the only bright spot, as strong bean export demand continues. For the next 8 months, the U.S. will be the only major source of beans for the world to buy from. Plus, weather has favored planting more corn acres throughout most of the U.S. this spring, so there could be fewer bean acres in the June 30 plantings report as well.



The corn and wheat markets are being affected by speculation that Russia may let grain in Ukraine be exported for humanitarian purposes. … Continue reading

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McDonald’s shareholders reject animal rights activist

Recently, McDonald’s shareholders rejected Carl Icahn’s bid to get two animal-rights activists on the fast-food restaurant’s board. The billionaire investor wants to force the company to stop buying pork from hog farmers who use individual pens for sows.

Several other food firms, including Wendy’s, Papa John’s, and Dine Brands Global, which owns Applebee’s and IHOP, recently have rebuffed similar moves. The National Pork Producers Council, which has worked with the restaurant industry to address concerns it has with pork production practices, supports the right of producers to use sow housing systems that are best for their animals and operations. It has pointed out that the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians both recognize individual and group housing as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy.… Continue reading

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Hay barn fires are a real hazard

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Allen Gahler, Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

Mother Nature has been at it again, hardly giving us enough days to make dry hay with a risk of pop-up showers every afternoon. These conditions are very dangerous for hay producers. Since wet hay does just rot it may also burn. Hay fires are caused when bacteria in wet hay create so much heat that the hay spontaneously combusts in the presence of oxygen. At over 20% moisture, mesophilic bacteria release heat-causing temperature to rise between 130 degrees F to 140 degrees F with the temperature staying high for up to 40 days. As temperatures rise thermophilic bacteria can take off in your hay and raise the temperature into the fire danger zone of over 175 degrees F.

Assessing risk

If the hay was baled between 15% and 20% moisture and acid preservatives were used, there is still potential for a hay fire but not as great as on non-treated hay.Continue reading

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NW Ohio swamped after big rain

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

Rain totals in the neighborhood of over 5 inches fell on already soggy northwest Ohio starting June 6. The rains left fields flooded and newly planted crops swamped under feet of water in some areas. Ottoville, Miller City, Kalida, and Deshler got some of the heaviest rain. It made for plenty of heartbroken, frustrated farmers who have been battling persistent rainfall all planting season. Areas around Van Wert faced heavy rains as well. Tony Meyer sent in this photo from south of Deshler in Henry County. Most of the state had heavy rains.

Nathan Birkemeier of Putnam County shared these photos from his area that got anywhere from 2 inches of rain to nearly 5 depending on the field.

Ryan Barlage near Miller City in Putnam County, where some of the heaviest rains fell, got 3.8 inches of rain in the first hour and 6 inches total.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 256 | Soil Health Savvy

In this podcast brought to you by AgriGold, Mary Griffith of the Soil Health Institute visits with Matt and Dusty about soil health. Matt hears from Marc Erwin on sky-high diesel prices. Dale visits with Jeanne Gogolski, CEO of Education Products and the originator of the GrowNextGen program. Finally, Matt visits with Dr. Todd Price on site selection for swine facilities. All of that and more all thanks to AgriGold!… Continue reading

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OABA Welcomes Lauren Prettyman as Director of Communications & Member Experience

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to welcome Lauren Prettyman as the Director of Communications & Member Experience. In her role, Lauren will oversee all aspects of association communications including social media management, event promotion, press release and news writing, graphic design, photography and videography, as well as managing members’ experiences, including Member Directory, event support, sponsorships, and more. Lauren’s first day with the association is June 6.

Lauren is a 2014 graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.S in agriculture communication and a minor in production agriculture. While there, she was involved in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, university scholars’ programs and study abroad, including trips to study animal agriculture and environmental conservation in Chile, Brazil, Ireland and Costa Rica.

Lauren grew up on her family’s row crop and beef cattle farm in Marion County and has become more involved in helping on the farm since moving back to Ohio in 2020.… Continue reading

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RFS numbers released

The final 2022 renewable fuel volumes released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency support access to higher blends of ethanol for consumers.

For 2022, the final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume of 20.63 billion gallons includes an implied 15 billion gallons of ethanol, following the law. EPA also added a supplemental 250 million gallon requirement for 2022, responding to a 2017 Court decision finding EPA improperly waived past volumes. EPA finalized the delayed 2021 volume at 18.85 billion gallons, including an implied 13.79 billion gallons for ethanol, tracking retroactive renewable fuel consumption for the year.

In a separate action, EPA finalized denial of 69 pending RFS exemption petitions. Closing the books on RFS exemptions.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall was supportive of the action.

“[The] EPA announcement is welcome news for farmers and ranchers as well as America’s families who are dealing with record-high fuel prices. AFBF appreciates that the Biden administration has upheld the promise to honor the critical role that renewable fuels play in supporting the rural economy,” Duvall said.

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Planting continues to lag last year, hovers near average

Farmers rushed to plant during last week’s warm and sunny conditions, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 33 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending June 5 was 71.7 degrees, 6.1 degrees above normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.58 inches of precipitation, 0.38 inches below average.
There were 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending on June 5.

Good weather permitted farmers to make significant corn and soybean planting progress last week. Livestock enjoyed pastures still green from the wet spring in most areas, though the week’s dryness contributed to limited reports of increasingly parched pastures. Corn was 85 percent planted, and 65 percent of corn had emerged. Soybean planting progress was 71 percent complete, while 47 percent were emerged. Oats were 99 percent planted and 93 percent of oats were emerged.… Continue reading

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The end is near for the long 2022 planting season

Kurt Wyler

We have made good progress the last 2 weeks. We’ve had decent weather and have covered a lot of ground. There have been a few rains but nothing to keep us out of the field more than a day or 2. We can’t complain.

Everything we have in the ground seems to be coming up nicely and looking good. We are getting things wrapped up along with most everyone in this area. The forecast is calling for a pretty good rain later today but we think we should be able to finish up before it hits. We have about 45 acres of corn and 90 acres of beans and we will be completely wrapped up with planting. The other day I planted 65 acres and was in 12 different fields, so some of our field sizes can really slow us down.

We farm 80% hill ground with some bottom ground.… Continue reading

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